Things to do
We love every season in the Lakes but there is something very special about autumn.
After the busyness of summer, Autumn brings with it a peaceful chance for solitude as you watch the leaves turn from green to gold and wonder at nature’s bounty as our orchards and hedgerows offer up their fruit.
You will find there are fewer visitors and more chances of bagging a seat by a fire at one of our cosy pubs or cafes after your walk.
Think brooding skies, ever-changing light dappling the mountains, green turning to golden russet, deep red sunsets, and misty mornings.
Whether you are into words or pictures – a poet who wants to wax lyrical about nature, or you want to fill up your Instagram feed with golden-copper images, the Lakes in autumn can definitely be your muse.
One of our favourite moments to capture is the temperature inversions above the lakes, where nature thoughtfully provides a silver mist suspended magically above the water, drifting up and down the lake. You almost expect to see a unicorn appearing…. we don’t have unicorns, but we do have flora and fauna for you to peek at and enjoy.
Nature is bursting at this time, whether it’s the majestic wandering & rutting of the deer; sheep coming down from the fells to the pasture below; red squirrels foraging and storing their winter nuts; migrating birds or displays of murmurations; or the madness of mushrooms and fungi.
Grab your camera and binoculars and get out and about species-spotting.
So good for our mental and physical health, there are 3 Lakes that allow fishing: Windermere, Ullswater and Coniston. You might be lucky enough to see the elusive arctic charr, brown trout, pike, roach, eels and perch.
Salmon and sea trout also spawn on Windermere’s tributaries in the autumn. You’ll definitely need an EA license and please check on other permits too.
The Lakes have many dreamy gardens to visit and autumn is one of the most spectacular times to go and soak up the mists and mellow fruitfulness.
Many of them have a tea-room you can enjoy after your wanderings and treat yourself to a hot drink and some local goodies.
All are working hard to ensure social distancing and cleaning rules are adhered to keep you safe.
In the South Lakes: Holker Hall, Sizergh Castle, Levens Hall
Central Lakes: Holehird, Halecat, Brockhole, Brantwood, Blackwell, Rydal Mount, Allen Bank.
Northern Lakes: Dalemain, Lowther Castle, Askham Hall, Acorn Bank, Muncaster Castle, Wordsworth House (Cockermouth)
So many to choose from but here’s our top 5 short autumn nature walks, where you may spy red squirrels, birdlife, deer, sheep and cattle, forage for mushrooms or just breathe in the air and enjoy the colours all around you:
Tarn Hows: (Parking at Tarn Hows Car Park. Walk 2 miles 1 hour) this ever-popular wooded valley has an easy path to enjoy so many different views, with the Langdales & Coniston fells peeking down at you.
An easy walk with the opportunity to extend towards Coniston.
Finish with a pint at the Drunken Duck for a great afternoon out.
Gummer’s How Windermere: (Parking Gummers How Forestry Commission Car Park off the B road between Fell Foot and Bowland Bridge) Easy to park up and walk up the last part of this mini-mountain at the south end of Windermere, through the woodland.
There are steep steps to the summit, offering great views right along the Lake and out to sea.
Close to National Trust Fell Foot park for a wander along the lakeshore too.
Friars Crag, (Parking at Keswick Town Centre, or Theatre by The Lake, Keswick P&D. Walks from ½ mile to 2 ¾ miles)Derwentwater Keswick. Walk to this breathtaking viewpoint ten minutes from Keswick Town Centre, and then head out on various short walks along the lakeshore. You’ll enjoy views from Friars Crag across the lake and up to Catbells and down to the Jaws of Borrowdale are breathtaking in the crimson of autumn. There are 4 waymarked walks from the National Trust Keswick Lakeside shop: the shortest is a teeny-tiny pushchair-friendly ½ mile circuit and wild play trail; the longest is a very doable 2 ¾ circular Lakeside Amble which takes in the Hundred Year sculpture at Calf Close Bay. Lots of opportunities to eat and drink in friendly Keswick.
White Moss woods: Grasmere & Rydal: (Parking at White Moss Common on the A591 between Rydal & Grasmere) A lovely central Lakes wander – either stay low and walk around both lakes or go a little further on the old Coffin route, then head straight through the woods and out onto Loughrigg Terrace with gorgeous views of Grasmere below and you can walk over the tops to Loughrigg Tarn.
Buttermere: (Parking National Trust Car Park, Buttermere) a 2-3 hour wander around this picture-perfect lake, surrounded by ancient woodland and pines, with its often flat-calm waters providing a mesmerizing mirror effect. Bring a picnic and linger awhile.
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